My Monday/Friday yoga instructor is a slight woman from South Africa. She has a beautiful accent and a very calming demeanor. Her classes, which are set to Gregorian chant or other calming tunes, are always peaceful and rejuvenating.
The instructor for my Friday class, which is more challenging, must weigh all of 85 pounds. She’s soft-spoken with large brown eagle eyes that she uses to scan the class to make sure we’re doing the poses correctly. Usually I enjoy her yoga sessions, but every few weeks she busts out a new crazy yoga mix CD that makes me wish I’d brought earplugs with me.
The worst Friday class happened a few weeks ago. I’d spent my morning working on homework, helping a friend plan her new website design, applying for jobs, and preparing notes for an upcoming job interview. Then my MacBook hard drive started clicking and promptly died on me. Long story short: I was more than a little bit stressed out. I expected yoga to calm me and allow a peaceful bit of meditation before I faced a weekend full of rewriting and investigating ways to recover my lost files, but as it happened this was the day that the Friday yoga teacher decided to introduce the worst of her yoga mix CDs. Let’s call it the Evil Yoga Mix of Doom.
The evil started after our initial round of warm-up stretches. It crept into the music in the form of a repeated discordant note theme and continued into the next with the addition of a heavy, thunderous beat. Since I’m accustomed to yoga-ing it up to the tune of calm, relaxing soundtracks, the music broke my concentration. I wondered if the instructor had devised a new relaxation technique and I convinced myself that the music would eventually build up to a relaxing, cathartic ending. Surely, at least our meditation phase would include ambient music. I was wrong.
After fifty minutes of stubbed toe folds, screaming baby pose, and mad cow stretches, I was more than ready for a final relaxation. Still clinging to the hope that the class would end on a peaceful note, I settled into the final rabid downward dog pose and waited for the tribal music to cease. I gave up when I heard the instructor utter the words, “Go inside yourself. Find your inner bloodthirsty warrior.” (So maybe she didn’t say it, but I definitely heard it.)
Giggling to myself at how fitting the morbid name sounded, I stretched into corpse pose and shut my eyes to relax. My eyelids fluttered, my feet felt cold, and I couldn’t locate the warmth I usually feel in my muscles at the end of a yoga session. Still, I tried to focus and meditate. The harsh beat of the music droned on, and after about a minute a strange clicking noise began.
Then a column of black smoke flew in through the door, grabbed me by my ankles, and dragged me into its underground lair.
So much for yoga as a relaxation technique; from now on I’m doing my final relaxation poses with one eye open.